The stormy arrival of the ship Conflict to Wellington

The following transcript from The Evening Post, Wellington, Monday August 3, 1874, describes the perilous entrance of the ship Conflict, bearing my maternal great-grandparents William and Eliza Franklin and their four children, into Wellington harbour during a typical southerly gale in total darkness. The information conveyed about the voyage and the passengers reflects the concerns of residents at the time: How many new immigrants? How long did the voyage take? Will new diseases be brought ashore?

“The ship Conflict, 1171 tons, Captain R. Hardy, 84 days out from London, with 461 immigrants equal to 366.5 statute adults, arrived off the Heads yesterday evening and was boarded by Pilot Holmes about half-past 7 o’clock. It was then blowing hard from the northwest and Pilot Holmes thought it advisable to anchor outside. At about half-past 12 this morning the wind suddenly chopped round to the southeast, still blowing heavily. The bolt of one of the shackles on the cable had to be driven out as there was no time to weigh, and an anchor with sixty fathoms of chain was consequently lost. The weather was so thick that neither Pencarrow nor Somes’ Island lights could be seen,  nor could even a glimpse be caught of the land on either side of the entrance. Pilot Holmes brought the vessel in entirely by compass bearings and anchored her early this morning off Pipitea Point. Captain Hardy and Dr Whitelam report all well on board. Ten deaths occurred during the voyage – one of the crew, and two adults and seven children amongst the immigrants. There were several cases of measles during the voyage, the last on the 15th June, but no other infectious or contagious disease. The following are the nominated passengers for Wellington :- [list of names omitted]. The Health and Immigration officials did not go on board to-day, owing to the state of the weather. The immigrants will probably be inspected and landed to-morrow.”

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